Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Survive the Work Christmas Party in Style

After many years attending work Christmas parties of dubious success, I have created a set of rules that stands me in good stead to survive this mine field in style. For those of your taking this journey for the first time, listen close and I'll share this hard won wisdom.


You want your outfit to leave a great impression. Something that stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Many people's memory of this grand event will be somewhat blurred, so ensure you are remembered as the woman (or Chap) with the amazing sense of style. Which brings me to a critical factor at work events - No Hollywood tape - or anything that remotely needs it! If there was ever a time to cover the merchandise and be subtle, this is one of those occasions. If you feel the need to bring a little siren to the party, consider revealing something else. Your great collar bones, your creamy white back or bring out the red lipstick and play up your smile. There are bound to be some clumsy advances at these events and you do not want to be remembered for any wardrobe malfunctions.

What to take

Don't schlep an oversized handbag to these events, you'll only end up having to check it in the cloak room or risk ruining your overall look as this sags over your shoulder. Instead take a small evening bag with enough room for the following:

Eye Drops
Spare stockings (if your outfit calls for them)
Compact and lipstick
Breath mints
Taxi Fare
Business cards. ( If you need to exchange numbers, this is the way to do it. Leave your mobile phone behind as you'll never hear it anyway, and chatting away during a party is the height of rudeness.)

Before you go

Know something about your boss; their hobbies, children, dogs, football team, whatever. Being able to make non work related small talk at these events is a valuable skill and will always help you make a better connection with that person.

Organise your "pumpkin time" with your partner. The time by which you absolutely must leave the party to save both your beauty sleep and to leave them wanting more.

Eat first. The canapes may be good, bad or diabolical at these functions, and you don't want to be putting Champagne on an empty stomach. That's just asking for an embarrassing moment with a photocopier.

At the Party

If you can at all help it, DON'T talk about work. Have some amusing and short anecdotes to relate. Sing the praises of the latest and greatest book you've read. Have an informed opinion on world politics, but whatever you do, don't use the party as an opportunity to bring up work gripes or bitch about clients.

Don't drink too much. Instead of Champagne all night, add a few soda waters in between. Drink white wine spritzers instead of Chardonnay and both your head and your waistline will thank you. You want to be remembered for your sparkling personality, not your consumption of sparkling wine.

No confessions. This is not the time to tell the boss what you really think of them, nor is it the moment to declare your undying love for Darren in Accounting. If you truly have anything seriously emotional to relate, seek these people out individually at a different time. Any soul bearing that happens at Christmas parties is usually seen as an act of desperation.

If you are the partner at your other half's Christmas function, there is one point I can not stress enough. I have seen this happen many times and it is embarrassing (not to mention relationship destroying) for all involved. Whatever you do, don't buy into good nature office ribbing and be tempted to trash your partner. When Darren says, "So does he bore you senseless over breakfast too?" A polite smile and smooth change of topic will suffice, don't be tempted to answer with, "And that's not the only place he bores me! Hahaha!" (I cringe remembering this overheard moment at a party past.)

And there you have it. Now go forth, eat drink and be merry!


docwitch said...

Timely advice. I have seen some very cringe-worthy faux pas at office Xmas parties. I'm too paranoid at these events to have any more than 2 drinks. It's one of the last places/contexts on earth to drink too much.

I've got cocktails with the Dean tomorrow night. Will be on my best behaviour. Can't think what I'm going to wear though. All of us Arts academics tend to roll up to work decked out in such a way to be mistaken for either students or (in the case of the men), labourers.

Hardly cocktail party attire. Ahh, but red lippy is a beautiful thing.

angelaseeangelablog said...

You give such great advice, too bad I'm not even legally old enough to have a job!


Too Many Shoes said...

Sage advice SKM. I now feel ready to take on the party season!

atomicliving said...

I love the pic. I wonder, is it suppose to be based upon Mad Men, because I can pick out every character? I am not sure if u get mad men in australia? If so watch it, if u already do, isn't it wonderful?

Sasha la pin-up said...

Thanks A LOT!

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Doc Witch: But you're not going disguised as a student this year right?
ASAB: Perhaps I should do a school party version?
TMS: I'll bet your dance card is full this time of year.
Atomic Living: Eagle eyes! It sure is. It hasn't started on our screens yet, but I've been getting some teasers since last week and I am in LOVE!
Sasha: You're welcome

angelaseeangelablog said...

School version? Hmmm... Maybe!
It's a all girls school (macrob) we have a finaly assembly and then maybe some cafe hopping. We're all fairly tame...

BTW I love the slide show on the left (art deco glamour), you look super in all of them!